My parents couldn't make it to Knoxville for the Half-Ironman as someone was having surgery the day after so, the g/f decided we would make the 4 hour drive from Knoxville to Charlotte and hang out for a week. Since I would have my bike and the tri was the following weekend, why wouldn't I do it?
The week I was at my parents I was extremely lazy considering the amount of training I've been doing. I did a run/walk workout one day, 10 mile ride and 3 mile walk on different days all with the g/f...no swimming. Due to recovery issues and the g/f already having plans to see her friends in Chicago this would be a solo race for me. I managed to
I woke up a little later than I wanted to and headed out for a 45 minute drive. Getting to the other side of the city is not an easy task in Charlotte depending upon where you live. The lake is about 10 miles North of Charlotte and my parents live on the opposite side of the city. The only direct route is getting on state highway with many many lights...think of the street in your city that has car dealerships, other various stores and every chain restaurant you can think of. So, I took the beltway as far as I could.
Anyway, everyone decided to show up before I did as the field parking lot and side street was full...I got there 50 minutes early. I set everything up, got marked, got my timing chip and wetsuited up to hit the water. I decided I wanted a decent swim warm up since I've been swimming longer distances lately. I probably did about a 400m warm-up. I doubt I could have handled that long of a warm-up last year as I could barely make it 1.5k most of the season. I also wanted to test out the water...much warmer than Knoxville...74.
I hung out on the little beach and waited for three waves to go off. It's always interesting to watch the swim to see what strategy people choose. There is always a pack in the middle and the people off to the far side are probably the newbies. If so they chose the right position. Even better, I didn't see anyone being pulled from the water.
74/185 for the men
It's amazing how different I felt compared to last year while standing on the beach hearing the countdown. I was excited vs. nervous. I was a bit surprised at my swim place since swimming is very big in Charlotte.
Then, we were off...I took the liberty of pointing myself out. That Orange thing is a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man or Airman or Sky Dancer for sighting purposes.
I've been very interested in my swim times this year as swimming has been the biggest improvement. In my wave I was 9th out of 42. (Actually I was 14/52 if you count the Relay but it's not fair to count these people as they can go all out in the swim since they don't bike and run.)
I did my usual run/walk to transition without any comments about me being a lazy banker or something and having to inform them I look wiped out since it was my first tri ever. The only problem with T1 was forgetting to unstrap my shoes so it took me an extra 10 seconds. I normally secure my shoes with tri-clips or rubber bands and go for the flying mount but, with the mount line being on a decent uphill slope I decided this wasn't a good idea. Plus, I only had to run about 20 feet on pavement with my shoes on.
Bike: 37:05 just over 20mph
I was a little disappointed with my bike time but the course is mostly rolling short steep hills and the downhills don't allow for much time to be made-up from the uphills. I spent most of the first few miles passing people. I wasn't passed until I hit a big rock and it altered my course into a rock driveway with decent sized rocks...not quite as big as rocks around railroad track but, I thought I was heading to the ground for sure. Luckily I froze and managed to ride it out. I'm not sure if I froze on purpose or out of fear of crashing, either way it worked. I got back up to speed and played leap frog with people for the rest of the course. I clearly planned my ascents better than them but a couple of them were riding faster on the flats, including one guy that obviously has more money than skill. Too bad your Aero helmet and P5 with an aero front wheel and rear disc wheel only made you 3 seconds faster than me. I think it was mostly because I opted not to come to a screeching stop after a half mile downhill to the dismount line. He did have a very graceful 1 footed dismount, I have to give him that.
Bike Course Pics (not me)
144/185 (Can you tell which sport is my weakest?)
With a heart rate of 140 or so I started the run. It was much higher than I wanted it to be on the bike but then I remembered this was a sprint and managed to hang on for 5k. The run course is really crappy and really great at the same time. It's like you're running in a bowl with transition being in the middle. You run up one side, back down it, up the other and back down to the finish. I guess it's hard to complain about the last 0.75 miles of a race being downhill. I can't really be disappointed with my time as it's my fastest sprint run yet.
100/185 for the Men
Comparing the times from last year:
Swim 21:14 15:42
Bike 44:42 37:05
Run 30:52 28:12
Total 1:39:42 1:23:35
A 16 minute improvement...not bad. Maybe next year I can shoot for breaking 1:15.